Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

'I Don't Want to Die'

Identikits and Other Stories

As the first week drew to a close and the police entered the second week of their investigation, they found themselves dealing with diverse leads and strange reports.

Family of Aubrey Otgaar
Suspect 1, police sketch
At 10:15 p.m. on Tuesday evening, the day after the murders, a man hammered on the apartment door of Juan Uys, the chairperson of the GLA, demanding that Uys come out. Uys instead pushed the panic button and security guards escorted the man away. Uys, who lived in the Bordeaux apartments directly opposite Sizzlers, notified the police. The man matched the description of one of the four suspects in the Sizzlers massacre, and the security guards recognized him from 5-year-old police photographs of two men bearing Fast Guns tattoos. In the reports covering the events, it was mentioned that the police obtained closed circuit camera footage of the man, but when questioned, they denied this. The incident resulted in the GLA postponing their fifth national conference indefinitely and all executive members left the Western Cape.

Suspect 2, police sketch
Suspect 2, police sketch
In the meantime, a confidential information hotline had been established, and was drowning in calls. In addition, detectives discovered that an amount of cash had been stolen from a safe inside the house, along with jewelry taken by Otgaar as collateral from clients lacking cash. Wristwatches and jewelry were also taken from the victims.

A week after the murders, one of the national television stations aired an episode of Special Assignment, an investigative journalism programme, claiming evidence that the Sizzlers massacre had been perpetrated by eight colored men. In the program, supt. Jeremy Veary, head of the Operation Slasher Gang Unit, stated that the killings were characteristic of the modus operandi of the 28s prison gang, which, according to him, controls the drugs and sex market in Sea Point. The team investigating the murders, now consisting of six detectives from the Serious and Violent Crimes Unit and coordinated by unit commander supt. Michael Barkhuizen, was baffled by this pronouncement, since Veary had never been involved in the investigation.

Nevertheless, on January 29, identikits were completed of two suspects, based on information from several witnesses, including the sole survivor, Quinton Taylor, still in hospital under heavy police protection. The identikitsone of a white male and the other of a colored malewere first circulated among police stations and released to the media the next day. Again the public responded with fervor, and the detectives were inundated with possible leads.

Meanwhile, Aubrey Otgaars family hired an ex-detective, now private investigator, to look into the case. In an article appearing in the Cape Argus on February 3, 2003, this investigator, Henk Jones, mentioned that there was a pink dog bowl on a table in the young mens bedroom. It was filled with blood. An unused paint brush was also found, and it was Jones theory that the killers had intended to write some kind of message on the wall(s). Police refrained from comment.

February 3 was a Monday, and this was also the day on which Quinton Taylor was discharged from hospital. He was taken to a police safehouse, and would soon enter the Witness Protection Program. On Tuesday, while Gregory Berghaus family announced a reward of R100,000 (approx. $US16,950) for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the killers, Quinton accompanied detectives to the house on Graham Road to help them reconstruct the events of January 20. He was still carrying two bullets inside his head. He told the detectives that robbery had been the motive behind the attack.

The police appealed to any clients that may have gone to Sizzlers on the night of the attack to contact them. It was believed that the killers had answered the door and had sent prospective clients away.

A week later, on February 11, Quinton underwent surgery at Groote Schuur to remove the two bullets from his cheek and neck, not knowing that the man responsible for putting them there would be in custody two days later.

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